Curiosity: The Story Of A Mars Rover (Markus Motum)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Curiosity: The Story Of A Mars Rover by Markus Motum, a fun- and fact-filled look at the titular robot.

All alone on Mars, Earth’s closest planetary neighbor, there is a robot named Curiosity, roaming the planet’s surface and conducting experiments on what it finds. Told from the intrepid bot’s point of view, the reader is given a brief idea of why Curiosity is there: because human beings always want to learn more about the universe around them. Following in the bootprints of Neil Armstrong and the other men and robots that came before it, Curiosity was built for exploration and data acquisition on Mars, and with the ability to conduct experiments and send data back to Earth. This was a feat of years of research, design, engineering, and astronautics, and culminated in Curiosity’s groundbreaking voyage and landing on Mars. Now the robot is exploring the far-off planet, and leaving treadmarks where it goes – hopefully someday, footprints with join them.

Fascinating! I was so impressed by how jam-packed with information this was, from the main narrative to fun facts scattered throughout to wonderful appendix. Even art is opportunity for more learning, such as providing a USA map with labeled states or a solar system with planets’ names during sections covering the robot’s travels. The text is highly informative, yet having it told in Curiosity’s voice keeps it from being too dry. The space-age inspired art is perfect, keeping things simple yet engaging and providing great visual aids for the facts. It is a bit on the lengthy side, though – JJ started to get a bit squirmy by the end – and would probably be better saved for slightly older bookworms. But overall, it’s an enlightening and inspirational look at a modern marvel, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Hey-Ho, To Mars We’ll Go!: A Space-Age Version Of “The Farmer In The Dell” (Susan Lendroth)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Hey-Ho, To Mars We’ll Go!: A Space-Age Version Of “The Farmer In The Dell”, written by Susan Lendroth and illustrated by Bob Kolar. This delightful take on the classic nursery rhyme teaches readers about what it would take to explore the next great destination in space travel, Mars.

Using the familiar cadence of “The Farmer In The Dell”, the text takes us through a theoretical journey to the red planet, beginning with the vehicles it would require, the planning and logistics that would need to be done, and the supplies that would need to be brought. It then follows our intrepid quartet of young astronauts along their journey, explaining their gear, food, sleeping arrangements, and everyday life through the long zero-gravity journey to Mars.

What a lovely surprise this was! I had expected a fun, imaginary interplanetary journey, which the story provides, but was so tickled to find that most of the content was grounded in the real science of astronautics! In addition to the rhyming quartet each page presents, there is also a paragraph explaining things like how a vessel large enough to travel to Mars would need to be built, how astronauts could grow plants for food in space, how an astronaut takes a shower, and so on. Most of these facts were new to me as well as JJ, and made for a fascinating and fun read! The bright, cheerful illustrations of the little astronauts and their journey are visually engaging while being informative, and we LOVED the detail of the text slowing being rotated when the story enters zero-gravity, adding an interactive element that JJ went wild for. The length was great, and it was a perfect balance of learning and fun – great for future astronauts and fans of STEM. Enthusiastically Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Life On Mars (Jon Agee)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is Life On Mars by Jon Agee, a charmingly funny story about a lonely astronaut searching for life on a distant planet.

An astronaut arrives in a spaceship with a box of cupcakes and a dream: to find life on Mars. He searches the barren planet for any sign of habitation, but he only sees rocks and dirt. Discouraged, he decides to set off toward home – but he finds he is lost! How will the astronaut get home? And where have the cupcakes gone? And what is that orange shadow that seems to be lurking around, just out of sight…? 

This was a very cute, very amusing story. The main joke is a visual one: as the astronaut wanders, a hulking gargantuan of an alien remains in full view of the reader, but just out of sight of the intrepid explorer. It makes for a great interactive element for little readers, who can point out the Martian and laugh at the astronaut’s folly. The illustrations are simple yet adorable, and fit the tone of the story perfectly. The length is just right, and JJ had a lot of fun with this one. A great pick to read aloud, and this one is definitely Baby Bookworm approved!